This is a recipe that comes from one of our most used cookbooks, The Better Homes And Gardens Complete Step-By-Step Cookbook (1978). By itself it's a bit plain, but we jazz it up by adding shrimp and crab. This is something we usually make for big celebrations like Thanksgiving or Christmas because you can make it look fancy.
The ingredients are: 2 envelopes unflavored gelatin; 1 cup cold tomato juice; 3 cups tomato juice; 1/3 cup chopped onion; 1/4 cup chopped celery; 2 tablespoons brown sugar; 1 teaspoon salt; 4 whole cloves; 2 bay leaves; 3 tablespoons lemon juice; 1/2 cup each salad shrimp and crab (we used fake crab but feel free to use real!).
Add the two packets of gelatin to the 1 cup cold tomato juice, stir to combine. In a medium saucepan combine 2 cups of the remaining tomato juice (reserving 1 cup), onion, celery, brown sugar, salt, cloves, and bay leaves. Simmer, uncovered, for about five minutes.Pour the hot mixture into a sieve set over a bowl; strain.
Add the softened gelatin to the hot mixture; stir to dissolve completely. Stir in the remaining 1 cup of tomato juice and the lemon juice. At this point add the shrimp and/or crab if desired. Pour mixture into a jello mold. The book advises using a five cup tower mold. We don't have one of those so I used our decorated bundt cake pan. Chill until firm, a few hours at least. As a note here, we find it actually tastes better after about two days. The flavors have a better chance to "mingle".
To unmold set the pan in a sink of hot water for a few seconds. Put a plate on top and invert onto the plate.
Ta da! At this point you can fancy it up even more by carefully sticking curly lettuce leaves underneath the gelatin. I would recommend unmolding about an hour prior to serving. That gives the slightly melted parts a chance to firm up again in the fridge.
So here is a simple tomato aspic that you can enhance however you wish. For example when my husband makes it he adds sliced manzanilla olives. I hate them and since I was making it I didn't add any!